Hi I am married to my wife b”h we have a few children, but I have a problem. My wife dresses in clothing that is weird and very simple, and extremely unappealing to me. She also doesn’t put make-up on only for Shaboss or simchus. I asked her politely and explained to her about the importance of it. She told me she has no patience to put on every day. What advice could the Rabbi give me because its causing a shulem bais conflict.
The point you are bringing up is important, and it has to be addressed, however I am quite limited in being able to help you, without a broader knowledge of who you and your wife are, and mor3e about your marriage. Nevertheless, here are a few points.
In general, it is the nature for a woman to want to please her husband and to find favour in his eyes, especially regarding her looks. If she doesn’t want to do this, this shows (to a certain degree) that there is something that you are doing wrong, that is turning her off. Therefore, the first thing is that you have to check if you are being the best husband that you can be and treating her properly.
I once heard from R’ Moshe Aaron Stern zt”l the mashgiach of the Kaminetz yeshiva in Jerusalem. That there are three main areas that a husband has to make sure to give his wife. (If I remember correctly, he said it is the AAA of marriage.)
The first is attention, which is to give her time to talk and the feeling that she has your Attention. If you are always busy with your job, or friends, and not fulfilling this need of hers, she will feel that you don’t value her.
The second is Appreciation. A husband has to make sure to show his appreciation for his wife. After all she does our laundry, cooks, takes care of our children, shops, cleans the house, and a million other things, and when the husband shows that he appreciates what she does, it gives her the strength to continue. As a side point, in your situation, it would be very helpful to you, to switch gears, and instead of demanding from her to dress nicer, and put on make-up more often, stop criticizing her, and make sure to compliment her how nice she looks when she does put on make-up. This way she will want to do it more often.
The third thing a woman needs from her husband is that he should show her affection, (of course, this is saved for the privacy of the home). The husband has to give her the feeling that he likes her, and not just when he has a need.
In truth each of these ideas is a topic of its own, and if you improve yourself in these three areas, you most probably will see a difference.
Another idea. After you strengthen yourself in these three areas, there are other areas to look at.
It might be helpful if an older woman, such as a teacher of hers, a rebbetzin, or any other woman that she respects and looks up to, will speak to her, and help her out in this area. This however must be done in a smart way, so that the woman speaking to her doesn’t make an issue out of it, and that it doesn’t look like you are complaining about her.
Another point. Under the assumption that you are working, there is something that you might be overlooking. When a man goes to work, all the women he sees, get dressed nicely before they leave to work. They put on a nice dress, or a suit, makeup, etc., because they want to look presentable. However, when they get home, they are themselves, and usually not as pretty as they are while they are outside the house. This unfortunately, causes issues for the men, because their wives, often cannot maintain that level of beauty all the time as when they are on show. I am not giving you an eitza for this, but just knowing that this is a fact of life might help you understand where she is coming from a little better. By the time you get home, she might be tired from a long day, or work or dealing with the kids, and it just might be hard for her to now get all dressed up. In fact, by letting her know that you understand her, and that you now appreciate her difficulty, that might give her the energy to occasionally make the extra effort.
I hope that you will find some of these suggestions helpful.